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Poetry and Medicine
November 8, 2000

Harriet Hagerty

Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2000;284(18):2297. doi:10.1001/jama.284.18.2297

With shoulders sunken but an outthrust chin
she hunches in her chair.
She grips at laughter with her teeth
like a bulldog shaken by a bigger dog;
she won't let go.
No: she wants all the bone—
meat, marrow, splinter.
She wants it still: the outings where the fog
thrusts aside and shuts back,
brusque as a hospital curtain,
the Adirondack passes where the road
shoulders her off the mountain in the dark.
I hail her: queasy with chemicals,
she's an old freighter,
shoving forward her patched hull
clear to Australia.